Sarah Rollins, known as Nana by virtually all her acquaintances, has a happy personality. She jokes, she smiles, she has a sly sense of humor. One more thing to know about her is that she is 92 and she has never had serious health problems. She was born on Lefferts Place in 1926, and she has not moved much. She recently said that it would not take long to visit every house she has ever lived in.
Right now she is located on Brooklyn Avenue between Lincoln Place and St. Johns Place. She moved in with her husband in 1961, the year she was married. She has lived there for 57 years. She says that she and the house are a unit and she has no intention of ever leaving, even though the place has become extremely valuable. If staying in one place may be one secret to Nana's even temper, another is undoubtedly her Christian faith. While her mother did housework and her father Mr. Lewis was a carpenter, her father also was very active in the church. Nana has had her share of problems; as the youngest of nine children, she has seen her parents and all her siblings into the grave as well as her husband Lionel Rollins. She says the first funeral she went to was for a playmate and Nana was five years old; it was followed by many more. But death seems to have no sting for Nana. When asked what were the hard parts of her life, she replied that there were none.
On the other hand she is filled with gratitude for having had the family she came from and the family she created, and for a fulfilling career at New York Telephone. She was in the accounting department there from right after graduating high school in 1943. She stayed on with a break to have children until 1984 when she retired. Her marriage to Lionel Rollins was a happy one; he was from Barbados where Nana's parents came from. The couple had two sons both of whom live with her and she has a daughter-in-law too. The sons are well-educated, and they have thrived, and Nana has grandchildren. After Nana and Lionel bought their house they saw the subsequent ups and downs of Crown Heights, but Nana has no complaints. She says, “I always got along with my neighbors no matter who they were.” And this is clearly the case to this day. She recently attended the birthday of a friend across the street, and everyone there knew her and was pleased to see her.
It is a long time since Nana retired, but her life is a full one. She has her two sons with her and she a has set of activities she engages in. For one thing she knows how to play the keyboard and has on occasion filled in to play music at her church. Also she works on adult coloring books which have a Christian message. If you see her work you will be impressed; it is very precise and displays a fine sense of color, and the pictures match the sentiments beautifully. Her creations are gorgeous. Also she crochets, embroiders and knits – she made a beautiful large image of the last supper all in ecru, which hangs in her living room, and she gives away little pockets embroidered with red and white thread with a cross and poem inside. But most important is her church. Nana grew up in the Mount Zion Church, but when the beloved pastor Victor Taylor moved to the Faith and Love Christian Center at 1492 Sutter Avenue, she went with him. She loves Christian music; she learns from the sermons, and in the Christian Church Triumphant has many friends known for many years. Nana takes life as it comes; she thoroughly enjoys it and death holds no fears for her.